Chinnor acquisition sparks creation of Andrews Garden Company

Garden centre buy out could be start to new UK chain

The successful takeover of an Oxfordshire garden centre could turn out to be the start of a new chain across the UK. After buying Chinnor Garden Centre from the Q Garden Company in March, Martin Andrews launched The Andrews Garden Company, with the long-term ambition of setting up a group of garden centres nationwide. Andrews says he is likely to buy another centre within a year, but he is keen to get the operations at Chinnor running smoothly before he makes his next move. The site has room for growth and Andrews has already made plans for redevelopment. During 2005 and 2006, he will spend up to £1.5 million on installing a new outdoor plant sales area, a larger car park, coffee shop, farm shop, pet concession and children’s play area. He is also planning to develop a landscaping and garden design department. Andrews bought Chinnor with private funds but he will seek outside finance, which will probably be from bank and City investment. He has also taken on non-executive director Fred Edwards to help develop his long-term vision. Edwards has 20 years of experience in the distribution, property and business service sectors. As company director and a former part of the management team at Country Homes & Gardens, Andrews is keen to develop a company ethos that is different from his competitors. He said: “We will concentrate on customer service and staff training.” This is reflected in the company’s new strapline: “Your expectation, our expertise.”

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